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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Falling Rs. has not dampened holiday plans abroad, suggests report

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 18, 2013
First Published: 02:05 IST(18/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:07 IST(18/7/2013)

Contrary to widespread fear over the falling Indian rupee dampening travel plans of Indians, a report by a travel planning portal found that the number of people planning holidays in June, after the Rupee hit its all-time low against the US dollar, was significantly higher than those in May.

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Travel planning portal Holiday IQ compiled the report based on multiple indicators such as questionnaires filled by travellers, time spent online looking for vacations and queries sent to the company.

The report, based on activities of more than 10 lakh travellers, showed the number of people planning foreign holidays in June was 38% higher than those in May.  Although the number of planned holidays increased, tourists settled for cheaper destinations and shorter trips to account for the difference in the currency’s value.

“Data analysis showed that people are still willing to spend the same amount of money budgeted for a holiday, but are cutting corners by opting for nearby destinations and shortening the trip,” said Hari Nair, founder and chief executive officer, Holiday IQ.

While enquiries about holidays to Europe and the US dropped by 50%, short haul destinations such as Nepal (340%), Bhutan (220%), Thailand (110%), Bali (44%) and Dubai (62%) witnessed a massive growth, the report showed. “It shows that Indian travellers’ aspiration for foreign travel has been unaffected by the Rupee’s fall,” Nair added.

The report said while upper middle class travellers were unaffected by the Rupee’s depreciation, budget segment travellers cut down the duration of their holiday by 8% and middle class vacationers have reduced per person budget by 4%.

Independent travel operators agreed with the trend.

“A sizeable number of travellers are reducing sightseeing or are replacing fine dining with burger meals in their itinerary,” said Subhash Motwani, director Compact Travels.


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